Hands on Health

Hands on Health: An easy transition to contact lenses.

Contact lenses aren’t a new concept. They have been around since I was attending a birthday party at the roller rink and the birthday boy happened to lose a lense. So scary!  They are so thin to begin with that they are also invisible.  Since then, the only transition I’ve made was between new eyeglass frames.

Throughout the years, I’ve noticed that contact lenses were going to be more than just a trend. With the development of soft contact lenses adjusted for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, they have become a revolution for many people like me who would can not only see again without their glasses but can gain a sense of their peripheral vision back which is helpful for driving and maybe sensing when that friend comes up from behind to surprise you from behind!

This post isn’t just about my story but to hopefully help you with your transition to your new contacts as well. Soft daily contacts, for instance, are made of soft polymer plastic combined with a percentage of water. Water lets oxygen to pass through which makes contacts comfortable to wear as they attach onto both of the corneas of your eye.

Scheduling the appointment

You will have to schedule a separate eye exam for contacts with your eye doctor. This exam is conducted and only takes a few minutes by your eye doctor or any qualified eye doctor whom fits contacts lenses.

After my first exam, I met with my fitting coach whom was just one of the staff members whom politely and patiently brought out my first two new boxes of contacts while she instructed me in how to wear them.

Contacts Fitting Tips I’ve learned

You will and should gain all the instructions you need from your fitting coach but here’s one tip I’ve learned that could go amiss: How to distinguish whether or not your lense is inside out.

Starting with clean hands, put your lense on your palm and look for a number. No, that number doesn’t tell you you’re just a number or an alien but it’s crucial to distinguish whether or not you have your lenses right side up or inside out. If the number is on the outside, you’re good to go. If it’s on the inside however (as the lense will probably look like a soup bowl), carefully flip them over.

Oh, and although it’s tempting with busy lifestyles, don’t ever shower or nap/sleep in your contacts. Doing so can increase your risk of infection.

Are those cool colored contact lenses still around?

Yes, the lenses that can make naturally hazel eyes turn bright green or turn naturally brown eyes to blue are still around. I asked about them and the professional opinion that I got was that they are OK to wear for special occasions but aren’t recommended to wear for daily use going by the health of your eye. Some people might wear them and get along fine but just remember, they are the exception and not the rule. Colored contact lenses are also more expensive compared to regular lenses.

When you need new contacts

After your exam, you will be responsible for ordering your new contacts. Two boxes will give you twelve lenses. Some eye doctor offices will provide you with a complimentary bottle of saline solution to go along with it otherwise you will have to buy it separately at the drugstore or local market.

Cleaning your contacts

It’s pretty easy!  Once you take your contacts out, add a squirt of the liquid while you have the lense in the palm in your hand and move it around a bit before you add the lense to the contacts case, appropriately marked by L for your left eye and R for your right eye. Do not confuse each other. Add in at least two or three squirts of solution before you add your contacts in and let sit overnight. To clean the case itself, let it air dry Your contacts will clean themselves overnight swimming in a few squirts that you add each separate casing (a few squirts per case) each night.

To clean your contacts case, clean it weekly by rinsing it with a lot of solution or you can boil it in hot water and let it air dry on a clean surface during the day until you’re ready to use it again. Replace the case monthly.

It is advised you wear your contacts for as long as your eye doctor tells you to. Wearing them longer than prescribed is OK but it can increase your risk of infection and the lense will need more attention to cleaning and can be less comfortable over time to wear, this is especially true in people’s eyes that produce more protein which leaves deposits on the contact lenses.

Ordering new contacts

About ordering contacts, you can order contacts at two reasonably priced sources I like when you cannot get to your eye doctor. They are: 1-800-CONTACTS and America’s Best. America’s Best also has an on-site eye doctor for your convenience. Keep in mind that contacts won’t necessarily be $20 as the commercial says, especially depending on the brand of contacts in which you order.

You cannot and will not be able to order new contact lenses (at your eye doctor or online) if you skip your yearly eye exam even if you have your prescription. Please consider that each yearly eye exam helps monitor the overall health of your eye which is exposed to so much over time (the environment, work and our lifestyle, technology screens, reading, etc) which all can dramatically decrease our vision over time. It’s also important to monitor any changes to your eyes especially if you are concerned with future eye surgeries such as – but not limited to – LASIK. Skipping a yearly eye exam and trying to order new contacts is also illegal.

I hope this makes the transition to your new contacts lenses easier to use. Please let me know what I can do to improve this post or “veteran” contacts lense wears can share their tips and advice below!

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